The Effect of Digital Media on Our Communities by Olivia Papa

As a student of digital/video media, I’ve often been forced to confront how my chosen study will affect people’s lives through the rapid rise of technology. Oddly enough, I hadn’t given much thought to how that affects the environment in which people live, which in turn affects their mental, physical, and emotional well-being. This class and our recent Jane Jacobs reading encouraged me to think about the separation and devaluation of a tight-knit community, and how my major might be playing a role in that decline.

Today in class, we discussed that in Perugia, children are no longer as likely to be outside from a young age, gaining a feel, knowledge, and passion for their environment/home. This situation seems identical to the United States. While I can’t speak for rural areas of America, where outdoor activities might be more encouraged or accessible, I can speak for northern New Jersey, which tends to be more urbanized. There’s a park right down the street from where I live, and when I was younger, that’s the first place me and my friends were headed after school. We had a routine of staying until the sun went down, and instinctively repeating it the next day. While I won’t venture to say that kids no longer visit this park, because they very much do, it’s undeniable that the way technology has infiltrated our lives has certainly made it less popular. I think this plays a role in the decline of community devotion and security. Along with venturing outside, there were always neighbors willing to take care of/look out for my friends and I. Because we spend so much time in our homes now, even alone in separate rooms with our chosen media, I’d speculate that our addiction to technology and the media it offers has created an individualism that simply can’t mesh with a strong, united community. It was surprising to hear that a place as different from America as Italy, and a city as different from Kearny, NJ as Perugia is, the problem is the same. It seems to be a growing issue, globally.

Image result for technology loneliness
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